December 8, 2023

TikTok Seen Moving Toward US Security Deal, but Hurdles Remain

Negotiations between CFIUS and TikTok have dragged on as officials wrapped their arms around complex technical questions about the app. They edged closer to a detailed agreement in recent months, two people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Under the draft terms, TikTok would make changes to three main areas, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

First, TikTok would store its American data solely on servers in the United States, probably run by Oracle, instead of on its own servers in Singapore and Virginia, two of the people said. Second, Oracle is expected to monitor TikTok’s powerful algorithms that determine the content that the app recommends, in response to concerns that the Chinese government could use its feed as a way to influence the American public, they said. Lastly, TikTok would create a board of security experts, reporting to the government, to oversee its U.S. operations, three people with knowledge said.

BuzzFeed earlier reported TikTok’s plan to store its data with Oracle; Axios earlier reported that Oracle had started monitoring TikTok’s algorithms.

TikTok is represented in the negotiations by the law firms Covington Burling and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom, people familiar with the matter said. Among the government officials negotiating a deal are Adam Hickey, a Justice Department national security lawyer, two people with knowledge of the talks said.

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